The Supreme Court has rightly said "naked discrimination" and "one-man legislation" while judging the Ramadoss and Venugopal spat. The entire episode of amendment in the AIIMS Act aiming forcefully removing the institute director has certainly a mala fide exercise of power by the government against a person for an individual. This certainly puts a question mark on government's conscience.
P Venugopal who was removed from the director post of AIIMS last year following an amendment in AIIMS law claimed that he was victimised personally with a deliberate attempt by putting an age-bar to the post. The apex court bench comprising of justice Tarun Chatterjee and HS Bedi not only criticised government's stand but also held it constitutional thereby reinstating the doctor's to his chair.
Everybody knows what led the minister act bitterly against the director, which is the result of a long run rivalry between the director and Union Health Minister, Ambumani Ramadoss, who also holds the post of President of the premmiere institute AIIMS.
This all started with the question of institutional autonomy that was openly opposed by the director of AIIMS. It was further intensified with Venugopal's pro-active role in anti-quota agitation. He was accused with mismanagement of institute and was later forced to relinquish his chair by the AIIMS amendment bill passed by the parliament.
The government though cleared his hands by terming the law as an attempt of a just effort to govern selection but the timing of making it a law only indicates a personal rivalry between two people. It was no more a question of institutional autonomy but a clash of ego. From the part of government it was a mere disregard giving the minister chance to play his trick.
Government which serves for the people, by the people and of the people can't just act arbitrarily and the parliamentarian who passed the amendment bill should have to consider their moral obligation. Though the act was not erroneous but the whole intention undoubtedly puts governments' conscience in court.
Sudhir AgarwalMay 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM